For many, there is nothing more daunting than stepping out onto a stage and performing for an audience, but that isn’t the case for local teenager Joshua Aston.
The art of performing is something that has always come naturally to the talented 14-year-old, who has been training with Forrestdale’s Explosive Dance & Theatre Co for the last three years.
But that isn’t to say that Joshua hasn’t been busy refining those skills, taking private lessons twice a week with the company’s director Francine Brereton – who just so happens to be his second cousin.
That dedication continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where Joshua practiced in preparation for ‘Enter the Stage’ – a statewide online performing arts challenge judged by some of Australia’s most successful artists.
The competition has been running for over four years and covers all genres of dancing, singing and performing arts.
On Sunday it was confirmed that Joshua had won first place in the under-14 Novice Musical Theatre section for his performance of ‘Mack The Knife’ – news the humble teenager said left him surprised but excited.
“My Mum came in and said “You did it!” and I was like “Oh, that’s cool”,” he said.
“It was good news.
“It was different, prerecording it and performing for a camera, but it was a lot of fun.
“I’ve been fortunate not to be too badly affected by COVID-19, but it was good to have a distraction, too.
“Fran is really good and she’s been really supportive.”
And that’s not the only accolade the 14-year-old has under his belt.
This week, Josh was notified that he also won runner up in the Contemporary Vocal section singing ‘Feeling Good’ and is currently awaiting the outcome of the national ‘Take The Mic’ competition after making it to the second stage of the WA round.
Mrs Brereton said she, too, was thrilled by the news and was proud to see Joshua’s talent recognised.
“Josh has been working really hard on his solo singing and he’s really quite amazing for 14 years of age,” she said.
“When we take lessons together, we really perform and Josh has a fantastic work ethic.
“Seeing that translated into the video is just incredible.
“For some people, it’s just in their blood – they step onto the stage and it’s just there.
“What I thought was great about this was that they were interested in the raw performer.
“There was no hiding behind lights and screens.
“In some respects, I think it’s harder.”
Though Joshua said he was still toying with the idea of a career in theatre, Mrs Brereton said she was certain he had what it takes.